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“What you’re going through, Elizabeth is tough, and I am going to call you every day. I remember when I was going through my divorce a small group of friends called me every day and it sure helped,” my friend emphatically stated. That’s exactly what she did.
I thought what do I need this for.? I’ve been through a lot of tough times. It turned out to be one of the most special times in my life.
I wasn’t going through a divorce; but I was selling my home: a home I had been in for less than three years: a home that I thought would be my final home. It was a darling little Tudor home in Denver’s charming Mayfair neighborhood. But, it had one fatal flaw; it had 14 steps from the sidewalk to the front porch with the “Hobbit” shaped door, as my oldest grandson described it. But, those steps represented a real lack of my caring to his mother whose youngest child was born with a depleting disease, one that made walking very difficult.
Living there just wasn’t worth her resentment towards me, so I decided to move across town to a house closer to that family. So, at age 66 I listed my house. Fortunately, Denver’s real estate market had picked up significantly from the time I sold my big beloved Craftsman home in Denver’s West Highlands neighborhood just under three years before. Also, fortunately, the real estate agent told me it would take less than six months to sell – not two years.
My friend knew all this. She also knew how hard it is to sell and buy a home and move at any age – let alone our age. Every day she called me. We would talk sometimes for a couple of minutes and sometimes for over 30. We would talk about all sorts of things, including the weather, challenges to ladies-of-a-certain-age, movies, books, the state of the world. Sometimes she would complain about what was going on in her life, and I would complain what was going on in my life – like people not showing up for house showings, various remarks made by the real estate agent, and having to keep the house so clean all of the time.
Most of all, for one of the few times in my life I felt really cared for. I thought someone knew where I was and what I was going through. Someone made a daily effort to connect with me. These are all so important as isolation is a real part of life for many ladies-of-a-certain-age.
Recently, I talked with my friend and told her how much those daily calls meant to me. I thanked her.
It reminded me about a time in my life as a little girl. At spring break and over the summer, I would spend a week with my grandparents who lived in Pueblo, Colorado. My grandmother came from a family of nine, including three much younger sisters.
Aunt Kate lived only a couple of blocks away from my grandparents, and I spent time there then visiting her and my great-grandmother who lived with her. Every morning her sister, Aunt Mary, would come to Aunt Kate’s house. The two women would sit at the kitchen table and have a cup of coffee. They would talk about everything – the family, their community, their challenges, recipes, the weather, husbands – you name it. Somehow – even at an early age – I could tell each woman felt better after that morning coffee. I can still see that kitchen. I can still see those women. What a special blessing they had. (Of course, they are long gone. Aunt Kate would have been 110 this year and Aunt Mary, 105. Both of Aunt Mary’s children – my cousins – are gone, too. They would have been 75 and 77.)
I still stay in contact with this special friend, not on a daily basis, but often. I will never forget her kindness.
(Yes, I did move again three years after that move. I did spend a lot of time with that daughter and her family, as well as my other daughter after I moved from that little Tudor. It became obvious to me that I really wanted to live where I had always wanted to live again, on the Western Slope of Colorado. I could often visit my daughters and their children, who are no longer little kids. This time around my house sold in a nano-second.)
Copyright – Elizabeth J. Wheeler, March 10, 2017